PRCC fall enrollment continues to rise

POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College enrolled more than 4,800 students this fall, a 6.3 percent increase over last fall, a sign that the two-year school continues to attract students in search of a quality education at an affordable price.
Figures compiled through Oct. 14 show 4,824 students enrolled at one of the three PRCC campuses, satellite locations or on line.
“We are obviously pleased with the confidence that our students have placed in our college,” said PRCC President Adam Breerwood. “As we move forward, our efforts continue to focus on providing high-quality higher educational experiences for our students. We take the confidence shown in us seriously.”
In fall 2016-17, PRCC had the largest percentage increase (4.5 percent) in enrollment among the state’s 15 community colleges.
“The office of recruitment has worked diligently to connect with the community and build strong partnerships with counselors, teachers, administrators, parents and potential students,” said Delana Harris, director of marketing and engagement.
“Being a presence in the community and providing superior customer service has been the foundation for success. PRCC has also made institutional changes that have aided in helping students succeed. Programs like ROAR (freshman orientation), free on campus tutoring, and making the scholarship process more efficient have aided not only with student recruitment but with retention efforts.”
Two areas of focus at PRCC in recent years have been retention and increasing the number of credit hours a full-time student takes. This fall, PRCC students are taking 5.3 percent more credit hours over last fall.
“In order for us to retain students, we have to help them grow and that means providing the many different supports that the students are going to need,” said Dr. Martha Lou Smith, vice president for the Poplarville campus and instruction.
“There are certainly tutoring support for students. The bigger challenge is getting them to take advantage of those opportunities. Sometimes, the support is advisement. We are increasingly reaching out to students drawing them to advisors who are helping them plan schedules and understand what a career path means. We’ve also shored up the resources advisors have to make these processes go more smoothly. Other times, the support is involvement. More and more opportunities are being provided for students to be involved.”
Dr. Scott Alsobrooks, vice president for economic and community development, said demand for Associate of Applied Science degrees and Certificates of Proficiency has remained strong at PRCC.
            “Pearl River Community College has maintained a robust Career and Technical Education enrollment,” he said. “Research shows that students who take a concentration CTE courses are more likely to graduate.
“Even with this fact, PRCC has instituted several best practices and improvements in order to retain students. Enrolling and retaining students is critical to the local economy; especially as the economy continues to gain momentum and job growth continues to escalate.  To add to the criticality of this issue is the fact that a huge proportion of the jobs that become available will be in fields that require community college level education.”
            He added that faculty are also expected to help with recruiting efforts.
            “A common practice for those in the CTE area at PRCC is that faculty are expected to recruit, retain and assist with job placement of students. There is a very holistic process in place with high expectations. The faculty members visit local high schools throughout the year to recruit those interested in the various career paths offered by PRCC.”
PRCC remains a viable opportunity for people in South Mississippi who have lost their jobs for one reason or another and desire to pursue a second career.
“Pearl River Community College is still a strong option for those people who need retraining, especially adults,” said Chuck Abadie, director of public relations. “We offer many short-term training programs, depending on the kind of career a person desires.”
If a student is interested in starting a career path that does not require a four-year degree, contact PRCC’s admissions office or a member of the recruitment team to learn what is available for the spring semester.
For more information, call 601-403-1197 or

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